In previous incarnations of these end of year pieces, whether hosted by the good ship Ghost Cult, or wherever, I’ve indulged myself by launching into a kind of state of the world address at the outset. You’ll be pleased to know that, in the main, I’m going to spare you such an ordeal and just get down to the business of Heavy Metal brilliance. Why, you cry? Because, listening-to-music-wise (and in general), I’m in the best health I’ve been in for a good twenty years, I’m back in my zone of loving what I love… oh, and there’s a lot of damn good metulz to get through! So, here be my snapshot in time at my thoughts on 2017… (note, “favourite”, not “best”) Continue reading →
Of Mice And Menhave debuted the trailer and Part 1 of their five-part documentary series, The Full Circle Story, with new episodes coming every Monday for the following four weeks. You can watch Part 1 at this link or below:
To watch the entire documentary, fans will need to sign up for Of Mice And Men’s fan clubThe Ampersand at the bands’ website. Jon Stone, who has worked with the band in the past directed The Full Circle Story. It was shot over the course of the past year, following the band as they traveled on their world tour supporting their hit album Restoring Force (Rise) .
Vocalist/bassist Aaron Pauley commented on the documentary:
“The Full Circle Story”places fans on both sides of the stage: capturing electrifying concert footage, then going behind the scenes for a rare glimpse at the inner workings of the band that’s being hailed as “the leaders of metal’s new revolution.”
“The Full Circle Story’ offers the viewer an incredibly unique perspective—our perspective,” says Pauley. “The 5-part series takes the viewer on a wild international journey through our past few years, as seen through our eyes. It also showcases some of our favorite moments since the release of Restoring Force, complete with live footage from shows played around the world and interviews from the band. With the help of our friend Jon Stone, ‘The Full Circle Story’ captures what it’s like to be in Of Mice & Men, and we can’t wait to share that experience with our fans in a way we never have before.”
Front man Austin Carlile also commented
“It’s been an extreme past half year of broken ribs, head, hips, and tour dates,” adds Carlile. “After initial surgeries, followed by more medical exams & tests, and physical therapy multiple times a week, the last few months have been a real hurdle for me mentally and physically. Now that we’ve reached the other side, I’m ready to get the relentless machine that is Of Mice & Men back on track. It will start in March with two and a half months in the studio recording our new album. Then a UK / European festival run (taking in Slamdunk and Rock Am Ring/rock Im Park). Next up we will be opening for Slipknot & MM all summer long in America, playing various American rock radio festivals along the way, including Chicago Open Air Festival. We hope our new documentary series ‘The Full Circle Story’ will hold you over for now. We put a lot of time and energy into it and hope you enjoy watching part of our Artemis journey and just how it all came Full Circle. See you on the road. Tell everyone you know, Of Mice & Men is back.“
Of Mice & Men will spend the summer on a 34-city tour with Slipknot and Marilyn Manson (dates to be announced).
Since their inception in 2009, New York City’s The Things They Carried (either an obscure reference or a simply naff name, likely the latter) have been on a self-produced quest to push musical boundaries with their, self-proclaimed, “Nerd rock” hybrid of styles and oddity. With a début full length under their belts and some lineup changes (by now seemingly the staple characteristic of any metal act that delves in to the world of Prog), they appear to have found some stability, and a new EP which sees their vision come to some fruition.
Consisting of 5 tracks, two of which push the five-minute marker, Melancholia (Revival Records) is a fairly short sample for the unacquainted but one that packs a plethora of styles, twists and turns. Album opener ‘18G’, for example, proves a very dissonant number, which brings to minds the likes of Sikth and The Dillinger Escape Plan; veering from extreme pace and more melodic sung passages, and even deathcore breakdowns. The following ‘Nightingale’ then shows an almost folk like start with a clean guitar and vocal before it builds once again.
Proceedings only really begin to simplify on the mostly acoustic ‘Death Of The Nameless’, where its simplistic nature feels out-of-place and unnecessary. It also highlights the real shortcomings of Steve Schwartz’s vocals, which, as versatile as they prove, at times are pretty weak and lowest common denominator; here especially they are very limp.
What 3TC (as they are affectionately known by local fans) set out to do here is very bold, especially for a band that is still in relative stages of youth, and for the most part it comes off very well. At times there is a mind-boggling level of technique and abstract styles that somehow flow together seamlessly. Other times there are moments that show they still have some naivety and are still not quite the finished article. Certainly ones to keep an eye out for however.
The first thing to say about Germany’s Burning Down Alaska and their debut release Values and Virtues (Redfield) is that this feels much more like an album than an EP. Coming in at 9 tracks (7 songs actual) and displaying a progression from the build of, um, ‘Intro’ (one of the few short tracks that commence an album that actually enhance and do the job of leading you into the first track while setting the scene of the music that will follow), through the utilisation of a thoughtful album dynamic, to the closing anthemic ‘Trophies’ with its hollered chorus over a hooky lead.
The second is that this is a mature and very well put together proposition for a debut, particularly one in the modern/post-‘core field (can we not come up with a genre tag without the word “core” inappropriately tagged on the end of something?). No generic breakdown chugs for the sake of it, where matters do “break down”, such as on first song proper ‘Brighter Days’ it is to a slower expansive, reflective music piece, that led by the throat of Tobias Rische is used to provide contrast to the next section, where a gang shout brings the song back to tempo.
Credit is due to the musicianship on display, as littered throughout are careful and clever melodic quasi-clean, quasi-lead based guitars, multi-layered and excellently composed, with Marvin Bruckwilder and Dario Sanchez complimenting and interweaving with each other perfectly, with a reflective almost gothic quality on the ‘Reality & Fiction’, a track that belies the stage of development this band should be in.
In terms of comparisons, Burning Down Alaska have jumped straight to the more progressive, grown up and developed point of their career, pitching in the Sempiternal (Bring Me The Horizon – RCA) or Daybreaker (Architects – Century Media) ballpark, fully developed and ready to stand their ground at that level. ‘Savior’ introduces female vocals to the mix to brooding effect, and proves, along with the excellent melodic hardcore anthem ‘Phantoms’, that this Recklinghausen quintet have the depth, gravitas and vision to really make a mark in the modern field of heavy music.